NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday that he expects all NFL stadiums to be open at full capacity for the upcoming season, a massive change from last season’s coronavirus pandemic-impacted schedule.
During a conference call Tuesday, the commissioner said that he expects every stadium in the league to be full:
“We want to see every one of our fans back,” Goodell said. “We expect to have full stadiums in the coming season.”
According to reports, fan attendance was down 90% last year as a result of the pandemic, with some teams, including the Chicago Bears, not having any fans at all during the regular season.
As things stand now, outdoor spectator events at Chicago sports stadiums can operate at 25% capacity, with the Chicago Cubs and White Sox both set to welcome fans back into their ballparks for the start of the 2021 baseball season.
At that rate, the Bears would be allowed to welcome just over 15,000 fans into Soldier Field.
While the state of Illinois, and the rest of the U.S., is making progress in administering coronavirus vaccine doses, the number of new cases throughout the country is rising at a rate that is alarming some public health officials.
On Tuesday, Illinois recorded 2,404 new cases of the virus, with the state’s seven-day positivity rate once again rising to 3.4% on all tests.
The increase in COVID cases and hospitalizations has led state health officials to say that a new “bridge phase,” designed to loosen more restrictions between Phase 4 and Phase 5 of the state’s coronavirus reopening plan, will not be put into effect, leaving the state at a more restrictive Phase 4 level.
That by itself will not impact attendance at sporting events, but any further mitigation efforts could curtail the ability of fans to attend games.